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In my work with solopreneurs, I’ve found nothing more challenging to their success than mindset. All the skills, talent, education, experience and credentials have rarely been able to overcome consistent mindset obstacles. My experiences have shown that shifting mindsets is significantly more effective than trying to change yourself altogether.
There is a distinct difference between a shift and a change. A shift asks you to accept new information in order to grow. A change often asks you to completely disregard what you have spent your entire life building. The latter is not healthy, sustainable or helpful when looking to progress in the world.
Let’s walk through five key lessons of becoming a successful solopreneur.
1. Wrong vs. failing
Understanding the important yet subtle difference between being wrong and failing is pivotal when embarking on your solopreneur journey. Being wrong is an inevitability that provides an opportunity to grow. Failing is when you allow those wrong turns to end your progress altogether.
I have advised solopreneurs and given keynote speeches on this subject, and developed a mindset reframe to disassociate being wrong with failure. This centers around the statement, “I was wrong (period).” The phrase often automatically fills you with embarrassment and shame and creates a desire to fight anything that positions you as “wrong.” The simple mindset change you must focus on is removing the period and replacing it with two simple words: “and now…”
Suddenly, this lets you know that an error is not a failure, just a temporary misstep that brings a valuable lesson. This removal of the period and its finality allows your mindset to see being wrong as an opportunity to take the next step. “I was wrong, and now I will [insert my next action].” A shift may sound small, but it will unlock you to reach the next level, while a change may do nothing but hold you back or slow you down.
2. First-time success is a myth
No solopreneur gets things right the first time, every time, and nor should you expect yourself to. This often stems from the stereotypical working world and company standards. You associate a job with being employed to return results.
You have a particular skill set that makes you valuable, and you are expected to deliver on them every time. In the world of solopreneurs, you are building something new from scratch. With each new day, you learn a new skill and walk a new path. If everything seems to be going perfectly at the first time of asking, go back and look again. Success is iterative, not straight line.
3. Short term vs. long term
The truth about building a business is that it takes time. There is no overnight success in the world of solopreneurs. You may be used to going to work and achieving short-term success because all the systems and processes have already been built for you. As a solopreneur, you must build those systems and processes yourself from scratch.
You must build a profile, earn credibility, attract a sustainable client base and adapt as you grow. The key term here is “building.” To enjoy short-term success, you must first build for the long term. It’s all about patience and perseverance. Don’t worry, you’ll get there! Every solopreneur goes through these hardships.
4. The mindset of investment
Embarking on a solopreneur journey can be scary. No one is refuting that. It’s about removing yourself from a position of comfort and backing yourself to build something better. However, waiting for your business to succeed before investing in it is a dead end. We’ve all heard, “You only get out what you put in.” You should constantly seek ways to invest your time, money and efforts for sustainment and growth.
Sound investment strategies — even in ourselves — come from a place of confidence and evidence. Recording your thoughts on the risks of each investment and why you chose it will build a repository of lessons learned and build both. Knowing what you invested in and why it worked or didn’t steers you toward continued investment in yourself and reduces fears.
5. Delegation vs. the lone wolf
It is hardly surprising, but most entrepreneurial journeys start as one-person businesses. Building a business from scratch can create a protective mindset, making you unwilling or nervous to hand responsibility to anyone else. The truth is that there comes a point in every business where you must delegate to grow. This could be as small as outsourcing to a professional freelance writer to create a blog or as significant as onboarding your first full-time employee.
A distinct difference exists between being a CEO and being a one-person machine. The CEO mentality will foster success, while the one-person mentality will likely burn you out. So, when is the right time to delegate? The simple answer is when you feel you can’t do it all yourself. Or perhaps when you feel that outside help could add more value in a certain area than you can provide alone.
So, there we have it! Five solopreneur mindset shifts and why they’re essential to your future success. And there is one thing all have in common: they are shifts. Don’t go reinventing the wheel or starting from scratch. You are here because you have two things: an idea and passion. All it takes to turn an idea into a successful business is a few shifts in the right direction.